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Real-Time Mammography Reading Cuts Disparities in Diagnostic Imaging

Decrease in racial and ethnic disparities seen for same-day diagnostic imaging after abnormal screening mammograms

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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- An immediate-read screening mammography program reduces racial and ethnic disparities in same-day diagnostic imaging after abnormal screening mammograms, according to a study published online Sept. 8 in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Brian N. Dontchos, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues assessed the impact of an immediate-read screening program on disparities in same-day diagnostic imaging after abnormal screening mammograms. The analysis included 8,222 pre-implementation and 7,235 postimplementation screening examinations.

The researchers found that 521 patients in the pre-implementation period and 359 patients in the postimplementation period had abnormal screening examinations, with 14.8 and 60.7 percent of patients, respectively, having same-day diagnostic imaging after abnormal screening mammograms. Compared with White patients during pre-implementation, patients of other races had significantly lower odds of same-day diagnostic imaging after abnormal screening examinations (adjusted odds ratio, 0.30; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.10 to 0.86 P = 0.03), while postimplementation, the odds of same-day diagnostic imaging were not significantly different between races (adjusted odds ratio, 0.92; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.50 to 1.71; P = 0.80). While the abnormal interpretation rate was significantly lower postimplementation than pre-implementation, there was no significant difference in cancer detection.

"An immediate-read screening program provides a new paradigm for improved screening mammography workflow that allows more rapid diagnostic workup with reduced care disparities," the authors write.

Several authors are supported by institutional grant funding from GE Healthcare and Hologic.

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